Infant mortality is a critical indicator of the health of Hoosier communities. It reflects the overall state of maternal health, as well as access to the quality and accessibility of primary health care available to pregnant women and infants, according to the Indiana State Department of Health. The good news is that Indiana is making progress in this area.
- The overall infant mortality rate in 2018 stood at 6.8 per 1,000 babies down from 7.3 in 2017.1
- Indiana’s infant mortality rate fell at the highest rate in six years, with the black infant mortality rate declining nearly 16 percent and the rate for Hispanic infants declining nearly 20 percent in 2018.2
Quitting Tobacco Use Can Greatly Improve Indiana’s Rankings
- Approximately 13.5% of women in Indiana smoked while pregnant in 2016, ranking Indiana the 11th worst state in the U.S. in this category.3
- Among the Medicaid population, 25% of pregnant women smoke, which is more than twice the rate of non-Medicaid mothers.4
- Women who smoke are at least twice as likely to have a preterm birth, which is the leading cause of infant mortality in Indiana.5
- Studies show that smoking during pregnancy increases the risk of stillbirth by almost 50 percent and neonatal death by over 20 percent.6
Alliance for a Healthier Indiana Victories
- The Alliance strongly supports the OB Navigator program which focuses on the 20 most at-risk counties for infant mortality in the state. The OB Navigator program provides personalized guidance and support to pregnant women at risk.
- The Alliance and its health care members partnered with the Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA) to expand tobacco cessation efforts to expectant mothers by reimbursing health care providers offering tobacco cessation counseling. In addition, Indiana Medicaid no longer requires a copayment for tobacco cessation products for pregnant women or women up to one year postpartum.7
3Tauras, Chaloupka & Halverson, “Report on the Tobacco Epidemic in Indiana and Marion County and Effective Solutions: 2018 Update”.